Higher-riding Century brings Japanese-style chauffeured luxury to captains of industry.
Back in the 1960s, Toyota was looking to break the domination of Western luxury brands in the Japanese domestic chauffeur-driven car market. The Century was the result in 1967, and has been favoured by captains of industry in the Land of the Rising Sun ever since, powered initially by a V8, then a V12 for the second generation, and a hybrid V8 for the third generation. They were all sedans too.
Enter the fourth generation Toyota Century in 2023. Code-named G70, this looks like Japan's answer to the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. However, it still embodies "an unrivalled spirit of omotenashi, or hospitality, that ensures its important passengers reach their destinations in comfort" that the previous generations did.
Starting under the hood, this Century SUV is powered by a 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated V6 engine mated to a plug-in hybrid system that sends drive to all four wheels.
While purists may scoff at the lack of a more prestigious powerplant as found in the second-generation limousine, the addition of electric drive means that chauffeured journeys can now be a much smoother and quieter experience for the Century's occupants.
There's no doubt that Toyota's "stately grandeur" theme carries on with this stately-looking SUV. At 5,205mm in length, 1,930mm in width and 1,805mm in height, one will definitely take note of this new Century looming majestically in the distance.
The Century's regalness continues into the interior. Rear doors open to a wide 75 degrees to enable easier ingress and egress along with grab handles on the C-pillar.
Once inside, the occupants find themselves bathed in natural light, courtesy of a panoramic sunroof, as they're ensconced by fully reclining individual seats that allow rear occupants to stretch out and relax after a hard but fruitful day of business negotiations.
Toyota says "The finely honed auditory sensibilities and exemplary techniques of a musical instrument manufacturing master were incorporated into the development of the audio system."
Inevitably, the esteemed rear occupants can look forward to an enthralling aural experience while reclined and making their way to their stately manor or to their private jet.
individual controls for VVIP rear-seat occupants...
...complete with video entertainment screens
Functions and features that support the professional chauffeur that are easy to use are integrated into the Century's ergonomic, straightforward yet upmarket cockpit, allowing them to focus on driving and not be distracted.
Alas, and as usual, this Toyota Century SUV will be available exclusively in the Japanese domestic market (JDM). However, we won't be surprised if enterprising parallel importers bring a unit or two into Singapore for extravagant punters to have a go.
They'd have to wait awhile though, because Toyota is planning to manufacture only 30 units every month. In the meantime, which colour would you like?